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Dunvegan Castle & Gardens

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Dunvegan Castle is on the Isle of Skye, 1 mile north of Dunvegan Village, 20 miles west of Portree. Open 1st April – 15th October daily 10am – 5.30pm (last entry 5pm). Closed 16 October – 31st March. Postcode: IV55 8WF

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The image top is of Dunvegan Castle Visitor Centre with a large car park.

The second image is of Dunvegan Castle overlooking Dunvegan Loch from a viewpoint just north of the Castle.

The Castle Gardens have a Walled Garden and Waterfalls.

Other attractions also in the area not to be missed are Coral Beach 4 miles north, Andrew MacAskill the Giants museum in Dunvegan 1 mile south, and Neist Point 11 miles southwest.

Dunvegan Castle History

800s - Vikings had taken control of Skye and most other Scottish Islands.

1100s - Scots Kings began pushing the Vikings out of the Islands by using Scots Clans to help them keep control of all Scotland.

Most Scots Clans had long running feuds with neighbouring Clans, with many of these feuds only ending through marriage, or stricter laws introduced from the 1500s to 1700s. People then found guilty of murdering their neighbour could be sentenced to a gruesome execution in a public place. The Maiden Guillotine in Edinburgh was used to execute some prominent Clan members.

1200s - Clan MacLeod took control of Dunvegan in the northwest of Skye with the earliest parts of Dunvegan Castle built at that time. The Castle Estate is about 42,000 acres including the area with the Cuillin Mountains and Fairy Pools. This Clan was probably descended from Vikings.

1200s - Clan Donald becomes a prominent Clan in the Western Isles of Scotland, descendants of Vikings that claimed to be Kings of the Isles.

1300s - the Tower House is built at Dunvegan Castle.

1300s - Clan MacLeod build Duntulm Castle 37 miles north of their Dunvegan Castle.

1400s - Clan Donald arrive on the Isle of Skye taking control of the southeast area.

Clan MacLeod and Clan Donald had many feuds over Castles and land. Marriage was used once to try and unite the two Clans but failed. The Government forced peace between the two Clans from 1603.

1600s - Clan Donald took control of Duntulm Castle.

1657 - hundreds of MacLeod's were killed fighting for King Charles II at the Battle of Worcester, last battle of the English Civil War. Around 16,000 men fought for Charles II against 30,000 men fighting for Oliver Cromwell. Around 1,000 men of Clan MacLeod are said to have taken part in the battle with many killed. Some that were captured were transported to America for slavery.

1739 - MacLeod's of Dunvegan and Macdonald's of Sleat were accused of kidnapping 96 of their kinsmen, men, women and children, in an attempt to sell them as slaves. The vessel carrying the people to America was wrecked off the coast of Northern Ireland, with all passengers rescued.

1746 - Clan MacLeod and Clan Donald of Skye both supported the Government in the 45 Jacobite Rebellion. Many other Clan MacLeod and Donald, from other areas, fought with the Jacobite's at the Battle of Culloden.

Many Clans that fought on the Jacobite side in the 1745 rebellion then had their homes destroyed, cattle killed, and forced to emigrate.

Clans supporting the Government, retained their Castles, Land, Titles and Wealth.

1700s to 1800s - Dunvegan Castle is extended in the Baronial Style seen today.

1933 - Dunvegan Castle is opened to the paying public to help pay for repairs.

2000 - John MacLeod attempted to sell off land that contained the Black Cuillin Mountains for £10million so he could use the money to repair the Castle. Public outrage led to the sale being withdrawn.

2007 - John MacLeod, 29th chief, died leaving £15 million in his will, leading to people wondering why he never used that money for repairs.

Today - son of the late John MacLeod, Hugh Magnus MacLeod, owns the Castle and Estate.

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Dunvegan Castle Photos